“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Several years ago, I had a choice to make. I was scheduled to go on a Bahamas cruise at the beginning of the year. However, a week before the cruise, a good friend passed away. I met this couple when I was running Camp Lawrence a long time ago. Their children came to the camp and, before you knew it, we all became fast friends through the years. The choice? Cruise or funeral. It was a no-brainer for me. My friends were more important to me than any cruise, even if I lost all the money I paid because that was not a refundable reason to cancel.
Recently, I read a statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago concerning Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. Some people had requested that the obligation for fast and abstinence be dispensed so that Valentine’s Day could be celebrated. Are you kidding me? What is more important, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent or the secular observance of Valentine’s Day? (I guess you know what side of the argument I come out on regarding St. Patrick’s Day versus a Friday in Lent, eh?)
There comes a time in our lives when we have to get serious about our faith. Too often nowadays, people seem to make excuses for ignoring the requirements of the Church. They want to be excused, they want to chose other options, or they just plain old do not want to do what is required.
Could you imagine where we would be if Jesus used some of the many excuses that people today use? Would He find a way not to suffer and die? Would He pin His suffering and death on someone else? Would He even care about us? As I have said so often, God has committed to us for the long haul and we have to be thankful for that. One of the best ways to show Him that we are thankful is by committing to Him just as well. We should not look for excuses to keep from doing what is required. We should, instead, try to find as many ways as possible to remain faithful to the Lord.
As we begin Lent this year, let us promised ourselves to do just that. Let us find ways to show our faithfulness to God. We just might want to memorize the schedule of services that we have the opportunity of celebrating this season. Mark our calendars for Stations of the Cross, mark our calendars for Taize Prayer, mark our calendars for penance services. Make note of the requirements of fast and abstinence. Even if we are past the age requirement for fast, how about doing it anyway as it shows the Lord that we are sorry for our sins.
Instead of being a nominal Catholic, let us commit to being a super Catholic. Let us go to Mass more often, maybe even daily. Let us make confession a more regular event than normal. Let us embrace the opportunity to volunteer our time in doing good for others. Let us make this season count and, in so doing, make it a beautiful gift to God.
FAITH ACTION: As we often do for the New Year, sit down and make some “spiritual resolutions” today in order to keep yourself on track throughout the season of Lent.